Andrew Daniels: Silver-rated MFS Massachusetts Investors Trust's (MITTX) deep team, sound process, and rock-bottom fees inspire confidence that its future is as bright as its past.
With roots going back to 1924, it's the oldest mutual fund in the U.S. and is today managed by MFS' research leaders, Kevin Beatty and Ted Maloney. The duo taps the firm's 90-plus analysts to carry out an investment process focused on identifying firms with durable franchises, stable balance sheets, and strong management. The managers expect these firms to generate above-average earnings and free cash flow growth over the long term.
The team typically holds firms for a minimum of three years--though often longer--and investors should expect turnover to remain low, as a result. In fact, all top-10 holdings have been held for more than five years, including Alphabet (GOOGL), Johnson & Johnson (JNJ), and Visa (V).
Since Beatty took the helm in 2004, the fund has shone, outperforming the S&P 500 and 90% of its large-blend peers on an absolute and risk-adjusted basis. Its long-term success has been driven by strong stock selection and its ability to hold up better than the benchmark in down markets, such as during the financial crisis and, more recently, since the S&P 500 peaked in May 2015.
Though the fund has struggled relative to the benchmark since the market bottomed in March 2009, it's poised to outperform over a full market cycle and is a great option for investors looking to build wealth over the long term.